Anxiety and Panic Attacks: Some SolutionsBy
If you have anxiety attacks or panic attacks, I don’t need to tell you how awful it can feel. As a Chiropractor I often met panic sufferers as patients, and was sometimes able to get them relaxed. Often, however, this was only temporary and numerous followups were necessary to keep them from recurring.
The question of how to cure anxiety attacks was one of the most common concerns these patients had. They didn’t just want relief – they wanted absolute freedom from these recurring nightmares.
I then decided to tackle the problem head-on. After much research on the matter, I realized that the medical approach was severely flawed. Even chiropractic adjustments were limited to correcting certain physical and nerve conditions that aggravated the condition, but did little to eliminate it.
I chose instead to look at the cause. I figured that, basically, anxiety and panic is fear . . . fear of something presumed to be true about the future.
This is a nice explanation, but does little to help the person who is suffering through a nightmarish hell of confused thoughts that often feel like a mental breakdown.
It also doesn’t help to know that this condition isn’t some odd occurrence that happens only to a few people. We ALL have a nervous system, and therefore the necessary equipment to panic on demand or, at the least, feel VERY anxious!
Here’s the thing: Anxiety is our anticipation of some sort of disastrous event or confrontation with a dangerous foe. Subconsciously, we remember a long-ago hidden decision about some incident we considered a survival threat. Our subconscious (ku) creates this future reality, and we accept this as a real thought – right now!
This survival instinct is usually enough to overcome our common sense. We may FEEL like we’re dying, even though we know we won’t. Death feels imminent. But its not. So what to do about these dadgum feelings?!
Walter B. Cannon described this panic sensation in the 1920s as “fight or flight.” He based this label on the idea that our caveman ancestors, when faced with survival choices, had to fight the sabre-tooth tiger . . . or run away.
The problem these days is that, while the sabre tooth tigers are gone, the inner instinct has not. Unchecked, this fear can overtake us and we freeze. That’s anxiety!
So how can we short-curcuit this Fight-Flight reaction and bring about a balanced state? How to cure anxiety?
First, realize you can’t really get rid of anxiety completely. this is the first step to bringing balance to your life. This realization moves you away from fear and toward contentment.
There are techniques, methods, practices that can be easily introduced into almost anyone’s life that will greatly reduce anxiety and anxiety’s evil twin – panic attacks – while giving you greater peace and strength.
If fear of the future is what triggers these attacks, the next step is to either
1) change the underlying (subconscious) decision that creates the attacks,
2) Change your thinking in the present moment, and/or
3) Introduce rest and faith into the mixture. Deep rest “calms the beast” over time and faith is the absence of fear. both together give you strength and balance.
Here are four ways you can rebuild your strength:
Sleep. Recharge your batteries! It’s one of the main and most important ways we have to regain our strength. Get plenty of it. If you know how to meditate, get back to doing it!
Diet! Certain foods are known to trigger panic attacks. Caffeine, sugar, heavy protein and “empty foods” (e.g., twinkies, doughnuts, colas and white bread) only stoke the flames of panic and anxiety. Get off them completely. Eat fresh veggies, whole foods, and whole grains; these are the best medicine for such attacks.
Exercise. This doesn’t have to be difficult or sweaty. Just go for a walk. Every other day, or more if possible.
Recreation. Playfor Pete’s sake! I find that riding a unicycle melts away a whole day of stress, but you might like swimming, golf, tennis, or hiking. Join a softball or basketball team, or any group recreational activity. Or go on more trips, cruises or a weekend at the cabin. Go to a movie. Watch TV. Read a book. Sit someplace and watch people go by. Get an ice cream cone.
These four things will go a long way toward putting you in balance, but another very effective, perhaps best, way is to change your thinking – either past or present (or both)!
Don’t worry. It can be done by becoming aware of what’s going on in your body, and realizing that the feeling you are having is not the reality of the future! Once you can learn to breathe a certain way and think a certain way, you will begin to feel much more relaxed and balanced.
You are going to get your life back. It just takes a few simple steps . . . simpler than you think!